Germany's Dirk Schrade has just won the last four star international horse trials of the season at Pau in France. He was riding his 'Holsteiner' gelding King Artus. The reports of his win have quickly spread around the world...to the delight of those breeding and selling Holsteiners.

However there is no mention of the fact that his sire is in fact a thoroughbred, King Milford, out of the Holsteiner mare Alida 1V. Then one looks at Alida 1V's breeding and we finds out that she was by a stallion who was himself 50% thoroughbred, being by the great Ladykiller, and out of a mare that was 75% Thoroughbred with the legendary thoroughbreds Heathersett and Cottage Son supplying this blood. Then some more thoroughbred comes to light with some Selle Francais in the breeding.

So this means King Artus is by a Thoroughbred out of a mare who is very close to being 3/4 thoroughbred, and his total percentage of Holsteiner blood is only slightly over 8%, while the Thoroughbred percentage is 85%. We need to know this in the sport if we are to encourage the breeding of the right type of horses for elite eventing and not be led astray by brand names.

In second place was the 'Hannoverian' Butts Leon ridden by Andreas Dibowski. It is the same story...he is less than 2% Hannoverian. The question is how many people will ever discover this?



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Comment by William Micklem on November 8, 2009 at 2:03pm

Well bred to say the least.....
Comment by William Micklem on November 8, 2009 at 1:51pm
Yes I understand totally...breeding is a rewarding hobby when done with thought and love...the problem we have in Ireland is that all breeders are encouraged to make it a business...I saw Sea Bird in the flesh and winning the Derby...will go and look up Buckpasser photographs and film to get some idea of him...my best regards...William
Comment by vineyridge on November 8, 2009 at 10:31am
I tried to link to the pedigree of my old man, but it didn't work. His Jockey Club name is Easter Spy.
Comment by vineyridge on November 8, 2009 at 10:02am
I also love to see the connections between my horses and the great TBs. My old man is a son of Mount Hagen and he has a, to my thought, great sport horse pedigree. He raced, not very successfully at the end, and then went on to be a show horse and then a foxhunter and whipper-in's horse until he was 22. He would probably have been a wonderful event horse. I also have two grandchildren of Deputy Minister whose great grandfather is Seattle Slew. Their bottom sides also have great horses. Of all their ancestors, though, I am happiest to be connected to Sea Bird and Buckpasser. I saw Buckpasser race when I was a teenager and fell in love. Even now, knowing that my mare carries a bit of him gives me chills.
Comment by vineyridge on November 6, 2009 at 11:47am
Couple of things. A sport horse pedigree expert once told me that she believed that not a single WB in existence, except possibly some trakehners, did not trace back in the sire line to a TB, no matter how far back you have to go to find one. Nimmerdor, who would appear not to do so, has a TB sire line from some time in the 1700's.

Frederic Butts, the master breeder of so many great German event horses with Butts as the prefix, bred Hanoverian approved mares to Hanoverian approved TB sires for generations. The foals were all registered Hanoverian, no matter how little non-TB blood they had. Thus, some of his last horses were 31/32 TB, but still carried the Hanoverian brand.
Comment by Fiona Hill on October 29, 2009 at 6:03am
William. this is fascinating! I've never really been interested in bloodlines before but after reading your blog I decided to trace back my horse's heritage and I've just discovered that he, too, has a tiny bit of thoroughbred in his history. Although to look at him you would think 'big fat hairy cart horse', he is in actual fact a registered Irish Draught x Hanoverian (Irish Sport Horse). I've just looked back through his Hanoverian bloodlines and although there is no record of his dam's bloodlines, his great grandsire was Woermann, which if you trace back far enough means he has a thoroughbred great-great-grandfather!

Absolutely fascinating ... thank you. Fiona
Comment by sheila foley on October 28, 2009 at 7:16pm
just became an addict of your breeding series.its brilliant.
Comment by William Micklem on October 27, 2009 at 4:38am
I meet a kindred spirit! Probably we are just romantics but yes I find it wonderful that the horses in front of my house carry the genes of Derby winners and Olympic medalists and special horses from my own past....I just love breeding horses and it is really good to know you are enjoying my blogs...THANK YOU Maria...William
Comment by Maria C on October 27, 2009 at 4:19am
Hi William, I'm really enjoying the mix of breeding, coaching and riding information you present on your blog.

The thoroughbred truly is the King of Horses - even in dressage, which is my passion.

The stud books for various continental breeds are fascinating. They may well tend to produce a stamp of horse you would say is Hanoverian, Trakehner, or whatever but the pedigrees show all manner of stock from various stud books. And always, always, the TB has played a major part in developing the breed.

One of my mares is a branded Danish Warmblood, registered with the breed society Dansk Varmblod. But her pedigree shows TB and Oldenburg antecedents. She is by a TB son of Known Fact (out of a mare by an Oldenburg stallion, Aleksander. He was by a TB (Adonis) out of an Oldenburg mare. I'm sure her dam was Oldenburg too - I need to check the passport to refresh my memory.

Don't you just love the romance of having top racehorses in the pedigree of more everyday horses. How fantastic that an ordinary person like me is associated with a horse with names like Known Fact, Northern Dancer, Owen Tudor and Nasrullah in the deeper realms of her pedigree.
Comment by William Micklem on October 26, 2009 at 4:56pm
The problem is that the range of thoroughbred blood is so enormous....some have none some have 90% plus....and people are led astray in buying horses that simply do not have enough quality and gallop to either be competitive at a higher level or be safe at a lower level because they have to go too close to their maximum speed. In addition breeders are being misled regarding the needs of the sport and increasingly are not producing what is required. William

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